W/African journalists form network to advance regional issues

Monday, October 02, 2017

Thirty West African journalists, drawn from different countries in the sub-region, who specialise in economic, social and environmental development issues, last Thursday formed a network that will help them cover their beats well, through sharing information and making sure there’s better visibility of issues concerning their region in the media.

The Network of Economic Journalists for West Africa (NEJWA) was formed at a two-day workshop, 28-29 September 2017, in Dakar, Senegal.  The workshop focused on capacity- building of members of the new network on various areas related to West Africa’s priorities, the economics of the region and related issues.

The initiative was spearheaded by the Sub-Regional Office for West Africa of the Economic Commission for Africa (SRO-WA/ECA), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Liptako-Gourma Authority.

The network was formed to create a dynamic and responsible partnership between the organisations and the media in the sub-region, as journalists report on economic and social development issues in the region.

Dimitri Sanga, Director of ECA/SRO-WA, said the ECA was happy to have played a role in bringing journalists together as the Commission tries to find solutions to major economic and developmental issues affecting the African continent.

“On our part as the ECA, we produce a great number of high-quality knowledge products in various fields, which impact on the well-being of the African population. These include civil status registration, population, demography, climate change and their effects on populations and economic growth, gender inequalities and women empowerment, the root causes of conflict and their effects on development, to name just a few,” said Mr Sanga.

“Media experts, on the other hand, are the driving force through which this wellspring knowledge will be understood by the various strata of public policy beneficiaries, so as to ignite their awareness on these issues, thereby requesting the necessary accountability from their administrators in the implementation of these policies.

“You have access to the necessary knowledge products and policy-makers. I have no doubt, therefore, that you will fulfil your responsibility in educating our constituents and managing expectations. You are important stakeholders in whatever happens in West Africa.”

Mr Sanga said journalists have knowledge about many issues and are normally well-connected from grassroots level to policy-makers, making them the best possible partner. “The ECA would yearn to have as the organisation continues with its role to promote the economic and social development of its member states.”

The 30 journalists, who attended the event, were drawn from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

The Sub-Regional Office for West Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (SRO/WA-ECA) is one of the five sub-regional offices in Africa.

With headquarters in Niamey, Niger, the ECA/SRO-WA covers all of the 15 ECOWAS Member-States, namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

The ECA/SRO-WA is channelling its efforts towards strengthening Sub-Regional cooperation and integration in West Africa, aligned with the priorities of the African Union, the views of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and international development goals, among which, are those stated in the Millennium Declaration.